Written answers

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Department of Justice and Equality

Victim Support Services

Photo of Catherine ConnollyCatherine Connolly (Galway West, Independent)
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451. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 836 of 31 March 2021, the status of the mapping exercise to identify the nature, spread and level of services that may be encompassed by the Supporting a Victim’s Journey Plan identifying gaps and ways to ameliorate them as outlined by objective 133 in the 2021 Justice Action Plan; if the working group has completed its analysis of the data provided by NGOs on the journey faced by individual victims; if so, the next steps which have been agreed on; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49576/21]

Photo of Hildegarde NaughtonHildegarde Naughton (Galway West, Fine Gael)
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Justice Plan 2021 outlines our commitment to ‘Strengthening community safety, reduce reoffending, support victims and combat domestic sexual and gender based violence’.

As the Deputy is aware, Supporting a Victim's Journeyis a detailed roadmap, which, when implemented, will ensure that we have a more victim-centred system that supports and empowers victims and gives them the confidence to engage with all services knowing that they will be supported, informed and treated with respect and dignity at every point and by every person they come into contact with.

I am deeply committed to implementing in full all of the recommendations set out in Supporting a Victim's Journeyand I am chairing an Implementation Oversight Group comprising all relevant Departments and Agencies responsible for driving the implementation of the agreed actions.

As outlined in objective 133 of the 2021 Justice Action Plan , my Department has carried out a mapping exercise to identify the nature, spread and level of services that may be encompassed by Supporting a Victim’s Journey, and to identify where gaps in support exist and how to improve those areas. Specific geographical areas and categories of victims that are not adequately covered by NGO supports have now been identified. An extra €450,000 in funding has been sought (on top of an earlier €1m) and my Department is currently engaging with NGOs that could meet the gaps identified by extending, with additional funding, their services. This piece of work will be completed shortly.

My Department also continues to work closely with NGOs in the sector to reform and develop physical and emotional supports and services. A review of the grant application scheme for providing frontline services to victims of crime is being conducted.

To promote more sustainable service delivery and planning, we are also offering multi-annual funding commitments to key NGOs we work with and where funding covers staff salaries. These funding grants cover accompaniment to court, to Garda interviews and to sexual assault treatment units and emotional support and counselling.

We are also working with our NGO partners and others to map the journey faced by individual victims to identify issues and support needs not met. Considerable work has been completed to date, which has provided valuable information which points primarily to training needs and supervision issues for frontline services and these will be addressed in the training work being implemented under the O’Malley reforms.

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